What the Letters on the Sweaters Really Say: A Look at the 4th Annual NAC Graduation Celebration

June 12, 2012

NAC New Archives

Nicholas Academic Centers, Class of 2012On Saturday, June 9, 2012, over 400 people gathered at the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa to celebrate the accomplishments of the NAC’s 81 graduating seniors from the 2012 class. Friends, family, high school counselors & administrators, community leaders, and more shared an evening of great music, delicious food, and inspiring stories and speeches.
During the reception, the Santa Ana High School Mariachi Band treated attendees to music while the catering staff brought around a trio of pre-ceremony appetizers. The lobby featured an interactive display of pictures from past NAC events and statistics highlighting the successes of current NAC alums, including the growing number of NAC students served each year as well as the increasing number of graduates attending 4-year colleges across the United States. Guests could also familiarize themselves with the graduating class at one of two large screen TVs, each of which presented pictures and bios for this year’s NAC seniors.
After the ballroom doors opened and the guests were seated, the ceremony began with a short video featuring several NAC students who shared their experience with the centers. NAC juniors Marylinda Bustamante and Hector Valencia, the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, officially began the celebration by introducing the first speaker of the evening, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, III. Dr. Nicholas then took the stage and welcomed the crowd to the event. During his opening remarks, Dr. Nicholas commented on the $1.1 million earned by this year’s NAC seniors in grants and scholarships, and noted the significance of the NAC’s retention numbers: “Where the rubber meets the road is graduating from an institution of higher learning; it’s retention, and this is the statistic I am the most proud of. After four years of operation, our graduates have achieved a 97% retention rate. That compares to a national average of 77%.”

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